Taking train to see many countries and towns in Europe is the best way. When I arrived in Salzburg, it was Sunday. Most of the shops were closed. I felt I arrived in a ghost town even past 11am. The shops opened late and since it was November, Christmas Markets are famous in Europe. As soon as I finished with checking -in to the Yoho Youth hostel, I went to explore the place.
According to online sources. Salzburg known as the “White City” Derived from Salt which is white and Burg means City. Salt has been mined in many regions in Salzburg and has been referred as the Rome of the North.Wealth and affluence can be traced to centuries of trading with salt. They called the salt as the “white gold” which brought wealth to Celtic people and the equivalent of trade and barter between jewelry and gold and even served as a money.
Walking around I ended up at Mirabell Palace and its beautiful garden. It was known as Altenau Palace built on 16th century. The palace was a token of love of Prince and Archbishop Wolf Dietrich Raitenau to Salome Alt which they had 15 children and 10 survived.
The Palace was renamed to Mirabell by his successor Markus Sitticus von Hohenems. The Marble Hall, formerly the prince-archbishops’ ballroom and concert venue for Leopold Mozart and his children Wolfgang and Nannerl, is considered to be one of the “most beautiful wedding halls in the world.” Meetings, awards ceremonies and romantic concerts (Salzburg Palace Concerts) are held here regularly. More about the palace and the garden, you can check here.
Adjacent to the Mirabell Garden, is a park in memory of the more than 250 victims of the Nazi euthanasia action in Salzburg 1941. In the spring and summer months of 1939, a number of planners—led by Philipp Bouhler, the director of Hitler’s private chancellery, and Karl Brandt, Hitler’s attending physician—began to organize a secret killing operation targeting disabled children.
Beginning in October 1939, public health authorities began to encourage parents of children with disabilities to admit their young children to one of a number of specially designated pediatric clinics throughout Germany and Austria. The clinics were in reality children’s killing wards where specially recruited medical staff murdered their young charges by lethal overdoses of medication or by starvation.
Before reaching the castle you will pass on a river known as the Salzach which was derived from the word Salz, meaning salt which was very important during 19th century.
The river serve as the route from Danude to Black Sea and thus tariffs, and taxes were implemented. Salt become the caused of quarrels and troubles and what we are seeing today, the palaces and churches was paid by means of salt when gold trade started to come back in the city.
The most prominent bridge that connects the Old Town on both sides of the Salzach River is called The Staatsbrücke means State Bridge which was destroyed by flood many times since the 19th century. There is a small bridge- a pedestrian bridge on the other side that serve as a love lock bridge. It is called Makartsteg. It was named after painter Hans Makart.
As soon as you will cross the bridge, you will come to a famous square known as Hagenauerplatz. It is famous due to Mozart’s birthplace which is located at Getreidegasse 9 but actually found on Hagenau Square.
The square is busy with visitors not only to see Mozart’s house but also to shop around. Nowadays, the building looks new due to some renovations.
Mozart’s house is located at Getreidegasse Street which has a lot of restaurants, cafes and jewelry stores.
One wrote I read online saying: The charm of the Getreidegasse, probably Salzburg’s most famous Shopping lane, is not only generated by the high, narrow houses tightly nestled together, the enticing shops and the wrought iron guild signs, but also to the romantic passageways and courtyards.
These interconnected buildings have given Salzburg a certain architectural flair. Each courtyard is a work of art in itself: columns, vaulted passageways, chapiters, moulded cornices, reliefs, marble balustrades, engraved building names and dates.Even today, the elegant and intricate guild signs of the restaurants, shops and workshops project above the visitors’ heads. Many of these elaborate “advertising signs” are the product of skilful craftsmanship.
At the end of Getreidegasse street, you will find a chuch called Loretto Geistliches Zentrum St. Blasius and on the side of it is Spielzeug Museum. The next street will lead you to another church called Kollegienkirche.
Kollegienkirche or University Church is attached to Benedictine Univeristy and was built on the 16th century.
Inside interior of the the University Church is simple and shows a prominent baroque architecture. Behind the University street, at almost the corner of a square is St. Peter’s Abbey and cemetery.
The St. Peter’s church and monastery was founded on year 700 and considered to be one of the oldest community. The cemetery at the back was one of the oldest and most beautiful cemeteries in the world where many famous personalities, politicians, composers, singers and artist were buried. The church is on the slope of the castle.
On the way to the castle you will pass to Salzburg Cathedral which was built on year 700 and is the city’s most significant piece of church architecture with its mighty dome that represents a Baroque architecture. .
Anyone going to the castle will never miss the Kapitelplatz & Kapitelschwemme. There are a lot of sovereign residences around the square and you can find entertainers, people playing a game of chess with its over sized chess pieces, some bazaars, sales booths, artistry pieces such as the Sphaera which is a round gold sphere and Pietà (Coat of Peace) in Salzburg.
Entrance fee to Hohensalzburg Castle – Festungsberg is 12euros. It was built on 10th Century and one of the most preserved fortress in Europe. This fortress served as a refuge during the Hungarian War.
The fortress’ symbol, the lion, holds the beetroot in its paws. One of the last extensive modifications was the addition of the great Kuenberg bastion. During its long history the Hohensalzburg Fortress has always remained unconquered by enemy troops. Having served as a fortification and temporary residence of the prince archbishops for many years, the fortress also served as military barracks and a prison. Prince Archbishop Wolf Dietrich was held captive in the fortress for five years by his nephew and successor, Markus Sittikus, up to his death in 1617.Today the fortress is open to the public all year round and artists from around the world meet here for courses at the International Summer Academy. Besides the medieval rooms the romantic courtyard and the bastions regularly serve as scenery for events like the Fortress Concerts. To find out more about the Hohensalzburg Castle, you can their website in here.
St. Andräkirche or St. Andrew’s Church today, a popular farmers’ market – the Schranne – is held around St. Andrew’s Church every Thursday morning.
There are many things to see. You need at least 2 to 3 days in the city to explore the town. The old town of Salzburg is rich in artistry, nature, fashion and glamour. If you are looking for medieval buildings or just want to relax in one of the gardens in town, you can find it in just minutes. Visit Salzburg!
This is one of the quotes that I always keep in mind:
“And if travel is like love, it is in the end, mostly because It is heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end” – Pico Iyer-